One more chance to “get it”

One more chance to “get it”

One more chance to “get it”

Brandon Garcia is only 21 years old. That fact was in his favor when Judge Michael Montero was faced with deciding whether there was any point in giving him one more chance to avoid prison.  Garcia pleaded guilty over a year ago to possession of a controlled substance. 

Although he was given an opportunity to have his felony sentence diverted by successfully completing the drug court program, that didn’t happen. After multiple sanctions for non-compliance, Judge Montero sentenced Garcia to complete a six-month boot camp program, designed to instill discipline.

Montero said sending someone to boot camp is pretty rare, something done in “only the toughest cases where we’ve literally tried every option to get someone’s attention and get them to change their lifestyle.” 

That didn’t work out either. Garcia told the judge he quit the program because he was frustrated with it. Montero asked Garcia why the time he had spent in drug court was a complete disaster.

“I didn’t care, I was selfish and dumb,” said Garcia. “The drugs were taking over. Some people have to learn the hard way.” 

He has spent a total of 255 days in jail now. There will be more of that in his future if he does not follow probation restrictions. Montero revoked Garcia’s diversion program, sentenced him to the felony, and gave him the longest sentence he could, under the law. He then suspended the 19-48 month sentence with additional conditions. 

“I am going to take another big risk and put you on probation,” Montero said. The judge imposed a $153 DNA collection and analysis charge, a $25 administrative assessment, $60 forensic fee and a $250 public defender fee. Garcia will be required to come back into drug court, starting all over from the beginning, as a condition of his probation. 

“At 21, he needs all the services the system allows,” said Montero, adding that he hoped Garcia was a man of his word as he had said he is. “If not, he’ll go to prison,” the judge said. 

Garcia will not receive any good time credit or early release from probation unless he’s paid all of his court and supervision fines and fees.